Commenting on the record growth, Airport Director Talar Faiq said:
"This has been an exciting and demanding year for the airport as it manages the very strong growth we are seeing. That growth is due to a number of factors, which include, airlines competing for market share, for example to the Gulf states, other airlines, seeking to use Erbil passenger traffic as an important feeder for their long haul routes, eg. Emirates , Etihad and Qatar, new airlines arriving, eg Air Arabia, Mahan and Qatar. But the overiding factor in the growth of Erbil International Airport is the demand created by the growing economy in the region."
"Airports exist to serve their communities, and it is the demand within the region that is the dominant factor behind such impressive numbers.
"Such growth brings with it challenges that we, as EIA, must respond to and manage, and it is a team effort that will ensure success. Security, Customs, Immigration are all agencies working at the airport who have an important role in responding to the increases in traffic and ensuring that passengers and cargo users have a positive experience. The number one objective is to operate a safe, secure and efficient airport . To help EIA achieve this we have introduced a number of key initiatives in 2012, including investment in air traffic control, baggage handling systems, and planned increase in check in facilities and the long awaited opening of the new 'meet and greet' building.
"The decision to lift the ban on US registered planes coming to airports in Kurdistan in December was welcome news for EIA and we look forward in due course, hopefully in 2013, to welcoming US aircraft to our airport. We are seeing interest from airlines in Europe and Asia, including China, and EIA is committed to facilitating and supporting the success of all airlines operating to and from Erbil.
"In 2013 we at EIA will be working hard to ensure a positive experience for passengers as well as investing in the long term sustainability of the airport operation through training, introducing best in class suppliers and exploiting the potential to increase commercial revenue for the KRG."